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High performance readout electronics for uncooled infrared detector arrays

Yıldırım, Ömer Özgür
This thesis reports the development of high performance readout electronics for resistive microbolometer detector arrays that are used for uncooled infrared imaging. Three different readout chips are designed and fabricated by using a standard 0.6 m CMOS process. Fabricated chips include a conventional capacitive transimpedance amplifier (CTIA) type readout circuit, a novel readout circuit with dynamic resistance nonuniformity compensation capability, and a new improved version of the CTIA circuit. The fabricated CTIA type readout circuit uses two digital-to-analog converters (DACs) with multiple analog buses which compensate the resistance nonuniformity by adjusting the bias currents of detector and reference resistors. Compensated detector current is integrated by a switched capacitor integrator with offset cancellation capability followed by a sample-and-hold circuit. The measured detector referred current noise is 47.2 pA in an electrical bandwidth of 2.6 KHz, corresponding to an expected SNR of 530. The dynamic nonuniformity compensation circuit uses a feedback structure that dynamically changes the bias currents of the reference and detector resistors. A special feature of the circuit is that it provides continuous compensation for the detector and reference resistances due to temperature changes over time. Test results of the fabricated circuit show that the circuit reduces the offset current due to resistance nonuniformity 42.5 times. However, the calculated detector referred current noise is 360 pA, which limits the circuit SNR to 70. The improved CTIA type readout circuit introduces a new detector biasing method by using an additional auxiliary biasing transistor for better current controllability. The improved readout circuit alleviates the need for high resolution compensation DACs, which drastically decreases the circuit area. The circuit occupies an area of one seventh of the first design. According to test results, the current compensation ratio is 170, and the detector referred current noise is 48.6 pA in a 2.6 KHz bandwidth.